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Snails n Bettas

Posted 2010.09.12 20.32 in Aquaria

Today there were some good “Kodak moments” in the aquariums… first my betta girls were mugging it up for the camera, then I got some good shots in the snail tank.

About the betta girls: I have four female bettas sharing a tank. They all came from the same brood (or litter or whatever its called) so they’re all sisters, were raised together and were living together along with a few dozen other sisters before I adopted them. So they’ve always been accustomed to each other and consequently they seem to be fairly tolerant of each other. They do have little chases now and then, and do flare at each other now and then, but generally they get along. Three are red with blue highlights and the fourth is blue with red highlights.

About the snails: This afternoon there was something of a “feeding frenzy” – albeit a slow, snail-paced frenzy. A couple snails were looking hungry so I tossed in some shrimp pellets… a food I normally don’t feed the snails. Well, they went nuts for it. Soon everyone was crawling over everything looking for shrimp. I had to put in a handful more pellets to ensure everyone got some. It was madness… slow motion, snail-paced madness. And it was hillarious to watch. Wow, they love those shrimp pellets!

Best Before Expiry Date

Posted 2010.02.01 19.43 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Pointless Blather

Remember when food and drink had expiry dates on them? Neither do I, but I am certain they did, at one time.

I mean, you hear people talk about it, like you have to drink the milk before it expires.

The thing is, if you look close, there’s no expiry date. Instead there is a “Best Before” date.

I understand the difference, and I sort of understand why. If they said the product expired on a fixed date, and the product went bad before that date, you could sue them (if you were so inclined) for false whatevering. And if the product was still viable after the expiry date, I’m sure someone would want to sue them anyways for trying to convince the public to throw out foodstuffs that were still good, in a conspiratorial effort to make you spend more money blah blah blah.

There are certainly concpiracies revolving around these dates – I’ll cover that in another post however.

So by calling it a Best Before date, they are more or less covered. It isn’t going to specifically go bad on that date. It might, but might not. Maybe it’ll still be good for another week – who knows? All the manufacturer is willing to commit to, is that it will be best if you consume it before that date.

My thing is, what if you have lower standards? Or your budget does not permit you the luxury of disposing of food products that are still acceptable, even if they are no longer at their very best?

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Crazy Silly Mind Games

Posted 2009.08.23 9.49 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

So one of those things about drugs like cryptospam, is that it’s vitally important not to go around missing doses all willy-nilly. Not only does it mess you up in the short term, but in the long term it can reduce the overall effectiveness of the drug. So of course, lately I’ve been going around missing doses, all willy-nilly. The problem is, cryptospam is supposed to be taken with food. So my routine for some time, has been to take it with lunch. However, the past few weeks or so, my routine has been all disrupted and I’ve been missing lunch quite a bit, or having it very late in the day, like after work.

Actual warning label from pill bottle.

Actual warning label from cryptospam bottle.

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War & Peace & Fish Food

Posted 2009.07.23 22.55 in Aquaria, Pointless Blather

Aquarium Diary, Entry #30

Leader of the Zebrafish, General Shifty, has surrendered. The zebrafish rebellion is over, and everyone has breathed a sigh of relief. Shifty conceded that the fishes’ appetite was their downfall. No fry army would be raised as the zebras themselves couldn’t help eating any babies who emerged from the gravel. No planorbid army would be raised, as the zebras will happily eat them too, if the planorbids’ shell should get accidentally smushed.

Those fry or smushed planorbids that escaped the zebrafish still had to contend with my forces: Speed Racer the snail, and the two peppered cory catfish, Doctor Pepper and Sargent Pepper.

The surrender was not unconditional, however – Shifty demanded that the zebrafish reserve the right to act suspicious or blatantly inconspicuous at their discretion. He also demanded colour-enhancing flaked fish food, and occasional treats of freeze-dried bloodworms.

I did not find the terms unreasonable, and agreed to the conditions. At long last I can drop this ridiculous storyline, which started out sort of interesting but has unfortunately become a bit laborious and has lost the funny.

Cheers!

Jumbo Shrimp

Posted 2009.07.22 19.21 in Pointless Blather

I usually like shrimp. Cold with cocktail sauce is fine, or splayed out neatly atop a little bundle of sushi rice is nice, but cooked is even better; stir-fried with teriaki and hot sauce, bundled up in a little har gow dumpling, sauteed with oil and garlic, deepfried with batter, bbq’d on skewers… there’s countless ways to make shrimp yummy.

At home I typically stir-fry them, or in summer I bbq them on skewers with some pineapple and a sweet-and-spicey sauce. Though if I’m feeling particularily lazy, I’ll just eat them cold a la shrimp cocktail. I usually get them in about the 25-count size. (This means, 25 to the pound.) It’s a good size, they’re not so tiny you have to deal with a million of them to make one meal, and not too expensive. The biggest ones, the 15-count, usually cost over a dollar each.

Recently I accidentally grabbed the wrong bag, and picked up the 15-count ones. The usual ones cost me about $10 / pound, these ones were about $17. But I wasn’t paying close attention and didn’t notice till I got home. I’d bought the dreaded…. Jumbo Shrimp.

“Jumbo Shrimp”. It is an oxymoron. Shrimp means tiny, jumbo means big. Big tiny. It doesn’t work.

Worse – jumbo shrimp are too big.. they’re just wrong.  Cooked, peeled, deveined and with no heads and tails, they are just sort whitish pinkish things about 5 inches long, an inch across at the big end and just under 1/2 inch across at the small end.

Last time I had Jumbo Shrimp, it actually put me off shrimp for a year or two.

It’s not the taste – they taste like shrimp. It’s everything else. The size. The shape. The appearance.

I just can’t shake the impression that they are skinned, boned, deveined fingers from some big guy with fat fingers. Fat man fingers. Fat man finger cocktail.

So I had my Jumbo Shrimp last night.. and once more I have the fat man finger cocktail in my head and an uneasy feeling about all shrimps.

Muffins != Cupcakes

Posted 2009.04.02 11.46 in Pointless Blather

Recently I questioned the differences and similarities of muffins and cupcakes, and was trying to determine if they were really the same thing or if they were separate.

As always, the best thing to do is consult the experts, so I did, and here is what I learned — courtesy of Leanne from Get Frosted!:

Muffins tend to be on the savory side and have less sugar. They are also a denser texture than cupcakes which should be light and fluffy. Muffins are traditionally not iced…

Interesting that the differences seem to be all fairly subjective — “tend to be”, “less sugar”, “denser”, “lighter”.  Nothing actually definitive or quantitative, except the matter of icing. Nonetheless, it only takes one definite, distinguishing characteristic.

If you put icing on your muffin, you’re eating a cupcake.

In the earlier article, I mentioned that I was sure I had seen muffins with icing on them. Perhaps they were mislabeled cupcakes. Or perhaps I just imagined it. After all, I have trouble remembering what day it is, what month it is, what season it is, and whether or not I’ve taken my pills. It’s not too great a stretch of the imagination to think maybe I imagined the muffins with icing.

It's Just That Easy!

It's Just That Easy!

At any rate, I can certainly sleep easier knowing that this matter has been resolved. And I’m sure all of you can as well.

Muffin? Cupcake?

Posted 2009.03.31 9.21 in Pointless Blather

So I was on my way to work this morning, when I grabbed a coffee and a blueberry muffin.  The muffin was really sweet and yummy, and then it hit me – what’s the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?

They are both similar in shape and size. They both tend to wear little pleated paper skirts. Unless I miss my guess, both can be made in a ‘muffin tray’. And both come from the oven. So what is the determining factor that one is a muffin and the other is a cupcake?

My first thought was that the latter has frosting and the former does not.  But then, I realize that this is probably not a definitive basis for classification.  I am certain that I have seen things advertised as muffins, yet which bear frosting. 

What is it?

What Is It?

So then I think, if it’s not something obvious then maybe it’s something internal, genetic.

Although my understanding of biology is somewhat shaky, I have read somewhere that one determining factor of whether two things are the same species or not, is if they can mate and have viable offspring. So if a muffin and a cupcake can couple and produce an offspring that itself is fertile, that means that muffins and cupcakes are the same thing. Now I’ve never seen a mufcake or a cupfin (that I know of) but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Cupcakes and muffins do not generally associate with each other, due to social pressures. One is a breakfast food and the other is desert. It’s like the Hatfields and McCoys, they aren’t allowed to fraternize with each other.

Now, before I go kidnapping cupcakes and muffins to start some twisted pseudo-scientific cross-breeding programme, I think I will try and explore a few more less-crazy options. I’m thinking, the experts at Get Frosted! may be able to help shed some light on the classification.

In the meantime, I will continue my own daily research. I know they make chocolate muffins… if I can locate a bran cupcake, that may confirm my suspicions.